Madonsela delays release of Prasa report

2015-07-22 21:26
(Julie Campbell, News24)

(Julie Campbell, News24)

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Johannesburg - The release of the public protector's report into maladministration at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), which was expected to happen on Thursday, has been postponed, the office of the public protector said on Wednesday evening.

"The decision to postpone comes after some of the implicated parties approached the public protector on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, requesting that she postpones the release of the report on the basis that they wished to make representations to her on issues that are central to the investigation," it said.

The report would now be released on August 3.

"The parties concerned claimed that there were delays in receiving the public protector’s Section 7(9) notices from the Prasa chief executive officer.

"In terms of Section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994, if it appears to the public protector during the course of the investigation that any person is being implicated in the matter 'being investigated and that such an implication may be to the detriment of that person, the public protector shall afford such a person an opportunity to respond in connection therewith, in any manner that may be expedient under the circumstances'.

"It is against this background and in the interest of fairness that the public protector decided to accede to the request."

Prasa CEO Lucky Montana was axed by the agency last week.

Montana then called a press briefing to explain his side of the story, but said he received "frantic phone calls" and was asked not to speak out until government had had a chance to reflect on what happened.

Prasa was also supposed to have a briefing on Friday, but cancelled it saying that after further consultation with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and its board, it was decided that the statement issued on Thursday about Montana's dismissal was sufficient.

The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) reported allegations of corruption and tender irregularities at the agency to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in 2012.

The union alleged that Montana was responsible for wasteful expenditure and had violated sections of the Public Finance Management Act.

It reportedly claimed he irregularly awarded tenders worth an estimated R1bn.

Prasa has recently faced questions over the purchase of new diesel locomotives from Spain, and over a R51bn tender for the purchase of 600 trains for its fleet renewal programme.

The agency had reportedly ignored warnings from engineers that the 13 Afro 4 000 locomotives, imported from Spain for R600m, were too high for local railways and could damage overhead cables.

Read more on:    prasa  |  thuli madonsela

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